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## Motivational Teaching Strategies for Students in Preschool

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**Motivational Teaching Strategies for Students in Preschool**By: Alisa celentano December 2013**Motivational Teaching Strategies**What do you already know about motivational teaching strategies? What does it mean to use motivational instructional strategies? What do we want to know about motivational teaching strategies? Discuss the questions with a partner or small group. Share your ideas with the whole group by: writing ideas on chart paper, verbally expressing ideas to group, and/or drawing ideas out on chart paper.**What is motivation?**Motivation is: “The act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something: the act or process of motivating someone…The condition of being eager to act or work…A force or influence that causes someone to do something” (Merriam-Webster, 2013, para. 1).**Why is it important to motivate students in the classroom?**“Learners motivation has been consistently linked to successful learning” (Clayton, Blumberg, & Auld, 2010, p. 350). “Intrinsic motivation [has shown to predict] greater achievement” with students (Perkins, 2009, p.55). “There is a strong link between student motivation and learning…[and] motivation plays a central role in the amount of time students will invest in their learning” (Akhlaq, Chudhary, Malik, Saeed-ulHassan, & Mehmood, 2010, p. 41).**What role do teachers have to motivate students?**Instructional strategies teachers implement in the classroom can have a direct impact on students’ learning. Present information to students in an interesting way to help them become engaged, stay attentive, and excited to learn. Implement motivational instructional strategies by providing engaging activities that will motivate students to want to learn, which will help improve students’ learning outcomes over time.**Reflect on your teaching practices?**Activity: In a small group, discuss: How do you motivate students in your classroom? What specific strategies do you use that help students learn? What strategy or strategies have you implemented that prove to be the most beneficial? Why do you think the strategy helps improve students’ learning? Share your thoughtswith whole group. (Can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**How does cognitive science play a role in improving**students’ learning and teaching practices? Logic, rules, concepts, analogies, and images can impact a student’s learning and influence the way an educator implements teaching strategies in the classroom. Logic: When educators teach new information, students use logic to think about what they are learning and make sense of the information. When a student uses logic, he/she uses reasoning to formulate new beliefs based on the new information. Rules: Then, the student creates rules regarding the information based on what he/she has learned. The rules establish what will occur in situations and by using logic a student can make inferences on what will happen based on a specific rule.**How does cognitive science play a role in improving**students’ learning and teaching practices? Concepts: After a student has used logic and rules regarding a specific topic, he/she can create a concept based on what they know. A student can decide based on his/her logic and rules how the information fits into his/her own life and categorize the information for future use.**How does cognitive science play a role in improving**students’ learning and teaching practices? Analogies: Analogies can be used to compare an object or concept that a child has prior knowledge about to another object or concept that is new to the student. Analogies “are important in problem solving and reasoning. They help a person visualize problems and find ways to solve them…Once an analogy is formed it presents a new idea of what we know before” (Ash, n.d., Slide 2). When a teacher uses an analogy, it helps students to connect to their previous knowledge and build upon previously learned concepts. Using analogies can help auditory learners because the students can listen to the discussion of how the information builds upon previous knowledge.**How does cognitive science play a role in improving**students’ learning and teaching practices? Images: Images are beneficial to use in the classroom because they can help further explain a concept, object, or idea. “Visual and other images play a significant role in human thinking…[because] mental imagery is useful in problem solving” (Ash, n.d., Slide 4). Using visual imagery can help students who are visual learners because they would be presented with images to reflect on to help learn the new information. When a teacher is instructing students, the use of analogies and visual imagery can help students better understand the newly learned concepts because they help meet the learning needs of the students.**What strategies can teachers implement to positively affect**learning and improve teaching practices relating to cognitive science? Actively reflect on teaching practices to ensure opportunities are provided for students to critically think about what they are learning. Ask students to make inferences based on specific rules regarding the information. Create concepts to help categorize the information to assist students in recognizing where they could use the learned information in the future. Create activities that gradually work on small concepts in activities that lead up to students learning and accomplishing larger ideas and tasks.**What strategies can teachers implement to positively affect**learning and improve teaching practices relating to cognitive science? Create opportunities for students to participate in “creative problem-solving strategies [which are] defined as techniques that offer multiple ways and angles of considering a problem from which an optimal solution may be selected” (Bryant, 2010, p.43). Offer many opportunities for students to actively reflect on their own learning and collaborate with classmates to increase understanding of newly learned information and how it can be applied to their own life.**What strategies can teachers implement to positively affect**learning and improve teaching practices relating to cognitive science? Plan for a variety of differentiated instruction to meet the needs of students and observe and reflect on the progress students are making to influence how future activities are created to ensure each student’s learning needs are met and teachers are helping each child progress to the best of his/her ability. Using analogies and visual images are two teaching tools educators can use to help meet the learning needs of students, especially those who are auditory and visual learners.**What has previous research conducted on motivational**teaching strategies discovered? Research from scholarly peer-reviewed articles reveals that instructional strategies teachers implement in the classroom can have a direct impact on students’ learning. Overall themes found throughout the research articles are implementing instructional strategies that support students’ interests, intrinsic motivators, and providing students with choices in the classroom. Boi Hoang, Sun Hee, & Yang (2010) stated that the materials that are implemented in the classroom motivate students when they are “fun…unexpected…[and match] their interests and…daily life” (p. 348). Hein (2012) stated that providing students with opportunities to become leaders in the classroom and make their own choices helps teachers implement a “more open-ended and student-centered style (productive style) where the teacher acts only as facilitator” (p. 14).**What has previous research conducted on motivational**teaching strategies discovered? • Yildirim (2012) conducted a study that reinforced the importance of teachers supporting the students’ intrinsic motivators (p.163). • Goodman et al. (2011) found that students’ intrinsic motivation had a positive impact on academic achievement (p. 383). • Acat & Dereli (2012) discovered in their study that when “cognitive and lifelong learning goals motivation is very high, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is high and negative factors for learning motivation is low” (p. 2670). • Tella’s (2007) study helped to explain the two ways that students are motivated, either intrinsically or extrinsically (p. 151).**What has previous research conducted on motivational**teaching strategies discovered? When students have an interest in what they are learning, they will decide to continually want to learn about the topic, which will have a positive impact on their academic performance in that area of interest. Teachers should understand that some students are intrinsically motivated in the classroom on specific topics or while participating in specific activities.**What has previous research conducted on motivational**teaching strategies discovered? Different motivational instruction strategy researched by Little (2012) discussed adding “challenge and meaningfulness in the curriculum as critical elements for promoting motivation in gifted students” (p. 695). However, all teachers should ask themselves how they are making learning challenging for every student in the classroom and plan instruction based on the individual academic needs of the students. Oche(2012) stated “instructional technique via prompt feedback generally improves students’ achievement” (p. 377). Oche’s strategy connects to Little’s research study because when teachers provide a student with consistent feedback and scaffold activities to challenge the student, he/she is presented with activities that match his/her learning needs and, therefore, can learn specific ways to improve in his/her learning.**9 Motivational Teaching Strategies**The specific strategies that have shown to improve students’ learning are: Choosing effective materials and classroom arrangements Providing child-centered activities Integrating students’ interests Supporting students’ intrinsic motivators Implementing activities that meet the learning preferences of the students Being cognizant of students’ learning needs and abilities Challenging students based on their capabilities Connecting classroom concepts to students’ experiences Providing students with immediate feedback**What does this research show?**“There is a strong link between student motivation and learning…[and] motivation plays a central role in the amount of time students will invest in their learning” (Akhlaq, Chudhary, Malik, Saeed-ulHassan, & Mehmood, 2010, p. 41). When a student is motivated in the classroom, he/she will want to learn what is being taught, pay attention, participate and remain engaged with the classroom activities, and, therefore, be able to later recall and apply the learned knowledge in future experiences because he/she would have absorbed and retained the information. Therefore, it is important for teachers to recognize ways to use motivation in the classroom to help students want to learn what is being taught.**Why should teachers choose effective materials and classroom**arrangements? Seating arrangement, such as when teachers meet as a group with students- “circle arrangement…[allows] teachers to easily approach individual students and simultaneously provide students with an equal chance of participation” (Nguyen, Jang, Yang, 2010, p. 347). “Environment shapes behavior” (Collins, 2012, p. 121).**Reflection**How can you implement effective materials and classroom arrangements to improve students’ learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of how teachers can choose effective materials and**classroom arrangements Effective Materials: Implement developmentally and age-appropriate materials based on abilities of students Provide materials for hands-on learning experiences, such as in centers and small groups. Classroom Arrangements: Place materials and postings at students’ eye level. Create areas for small and whole group meetings and activities.**Why should teachers provide child-centered activities?**“Student-centered teaching styles may be considered as autonomy-supportive behavior” (Hein, 2012, p. 14). When students are provided with a more active role in their learning, children are more likely to remain engaged and interested in the activities/instruction.**Reflection**How can you provide child-centered activities to improve students’ learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of how teachers can provide child-centered**activities Provide opportunities for students to take the lead in activities, such as by implementing a job chart. A student can help lead a morning meeting. Activities integrated into centers should create opportunities for students to engage in purposeful play independently. “Student-centered style (productive style) where the teacher acts only as a facilitator (Hein, 2012, p. 14).**Why should teachers integrate students’ interests?**“Interest may be defined as the focusing of the sense organs on, or giving attention to, some person, activity, situation or object” (Akhlaq, Chudhary, Malik, Saeed-ulHassan, & Mehmood, 2010, p. 40). “Interest can also develop and deepen over time as students engage in learning and find meaning in the content” (Little, 2012, p. 701). “Interest and attitude of learner towards a particular subject matters a lot” (Tella, 2007, p. 154).**Why should teachers integrate students’ interests?**“Teaching relevant subject matter and interesting instruction is imperative to the student ability to develop a feeling of necessity and importance about learning” (Akhlaq, Chudhary, Malik, Saeed-ulHassan, & Mehmood, 2010, p. 40). “Students learn material that they find interesting and challenging” (Akhlaq, Chudhary, Malik, Saeed-ulHassan, & Mehmood, 2010, p. 41).**Reflection**How can you integrate students’ interests to improve students’ learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of how teachers can integrate students’ interests**“Students should be involved in something fun, something unexpected, something matching their interests and close to their daily life” (Nguyen, Jang, Yang, 2010, p. 348). “Providing authentic choices, learning about students’ interests and incorporating those into the classroom” (Little, 2012, p.700). Ask students what they would like to learn about. Observe students during activities to notice what students are interested in.**Why should teachers support students’ intrinsic**motivators? “Intrinsic motivation is promoted when one feels both self-determined and competent and self-determination denotes the experience of choice, or autonomy. The sense of control over their own study has the potential to breed responsibility, which will then foster students’ motivation” (Nguyen, Jang, Yang, 2010, p. 352). “Results indicate that perceived teacher support may be more effective on students’ intrinsic value” (Yildirim, 2012, p. 164). “Praise is effective as a classroom motivator to the extent that it is contingent, specific and credible. Contingent praise depends on student’s performance of well defined behaviors. By specificity is meant that the teacher praises students for specific behaviors” (Akhlaq, Chudhary, Malik, Saeed-ulHassan, & Mehmood, 2010, p. 40). “Motivation consists of internal processes which spurs somebody to satisfy some needs” (Oche, 2012, p. 372).**Reflection**How can you support students’ intrinsic motivators, which will lead to an improvement in students’ learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of how teachers can support students’ intrinsic**motivators “One of the ways to engage students in intrinsic motivation is by praising the students for the efforts they make in the classroom and encouraging learning that is more positive” (Akhlaq, Chudhary, Malik, Saeed-ulHassan, & Mehmood, 2010, p. 40). Observe and listen to students during activities they are engaged in to discover what motivates them. Write down students’ interests to help plan for future activities and themes.**Why should teachers implement activities that meet the**learning preferences of the students? • “When technique complements students’ interests and tendencies, students will regard the teaching and learning processes implemented in the classroom as being exciting and enjoyable” (Saleh, 2011, p. 70). • When activities are implemented that meet the learning preferences of the students, the children will be more likely to remain engaged in the activity and further their learning.**Reflection**How can you implement activities that meet the learning preferences of your students, which will lead to an improvement in students’ learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of how teachers can implement activities to meet**students’ learning preferences • “There should be times where students are given a choice about what they will study and in what way they will study the subject” (Akhlaq, Chudhary, Malik, Saeed-ulHassan, & Mehmood, 2010, p. 41). • “Looking for a good learning fit for students means, at least in part, trying to understand how individuals learn and responding appropriately” (Tomlinson, 2001, p. 66). • When students choose their centers, write down the centers each child chooses to find out what specific activities/center each child enjoys being engaged in.**Why should teachers be cognizant of students’ learning**needs and abilities? When learning opp0rtunities match the students’ needs and abilities, the students are more likely to remain engaged in the activity because it is at their developmental level. “At least each pupil no matter their ability level should be able to answer some questions correctly. This would go a long way to motivate such pupils towards further learning” (Tella, 2007, p. 152).**Reflection**How can you be familiar with students’ learning needs and abilities to work towards improving students’ learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of what teachers can do to be cognizant of**students’ learning needs and abilities “Individual differences in ability…must be taken into consideration” (Tella, 2007, p. 155). Write daily observations of students during activities to discover and assess students’ needs and abilities. Plan small group instruction to assess students in specific developmental areas.**Why should teachers challenge students based on their**capabilities? A “key curricular feature of challenge [is] a necessary component of curriculum” (Little, 2012, p. 696). “There is a history of strong recommendations from experts in the field and from students themselves about the need for more challenging curriculum…offering faster pace, greater depth and complexity, and less repetition and review; and about the importance of the classroom context and teacher support in making challenging curriculum motivating and engaging” (Little, 2012, p. 698). “If schools are to promote world-class levels of achievement, they must provide opportunities for students to encounter material that is consistently challenging and that promotes ongoing growth” (Little, 2012, p. 702).**Why should teachers challenge students based on their**capabilities? “Curriculum that is challenging to students and that is implemented in a supportive learning context is more likely to promote motivation than curriculum that is too easy” (Little, 2012, p. 703).**Reflection**How can you challenge students based on their capabilities that will lead to an improvement in their learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of how teachers can challenge students based on**their capabilities Plan for tiered activities using Connecticut Preschool Assessment Framework standards and the benchmarks for each standard. Plan for individualized instruction by creating purposeful activities to progress students’ to the next benchmark level in each standard.**Why should teachers connect classroom concepts to**students’ experiences? “It is advisable that teachers are equipped with interesting stories to illustrate and support the lessons. As language can’t be divorced from context, every lesson colorized and enlivened with vivid examples from real-life experience can help make learning closer to enjoying” (Nguyen, Jang, Yang, 2010, p. 349). “Curriculum that is meaningful for students allows them to make connections with their own individual experiences and goals, it presents opportunities for them to see beyond the immediate activity to long-term effects and outcomes, and it may provide context for personal relevance and growth” (Little, 2012, p. 700).**Why should teachers connect classroom concepts to**students’ experiences? “When the teachers’ delivery strategy combines well with compatible and matching learning experiences to students’ learning methods, the information internalization process of a student’s processing system can occur more efficiently” (Saleh, 2011, p. 70).**Reflection**How can you connect classroom concepts to students’ experiences, which will lead to an improvement in students’ learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of how teachers can connect classroom concepts to**students’ experiences When discussing topics, ask students about their own experiences related to the topic. Find ways that themes or topics during discussions relate to the students’ lives and experiences.**Why should teachers provide students with immediate**feedback? “Prompt feedback as one of the motivational strategies can be regarded as the information available to the students which makes possible the comparison of their actual performance with some standard performance of a skill at an appointed time without delay” (Oche, 2012, p. 372). “Experiment has proved that reinforcement is important in learning” (Oche, 2012, p. 373). “The effect of a positive feedback or negative feedback on students which are of course multiple in outlooks can make or mar a student’s educational aspiration” (Oche, 2012, p. 373).**Why should teachers provide students with immediate**feedback? “Prompt feedback influences the readiness, interest and attention of students in the class thereby making them achieve better performance than when feedback is not given” (Oche, 2012, p. 377).**Reflection**How can you provide students with immediate feedback, which will lead to an improvement in students’ learning? Discuss with a partner or small group. Share your thoughts with the whole group. (You can use chart paper, drawings, and/or verbally explain).**Examples of how teachers can provide students with immediate**feedback “Learners want engaging learning environments that promote ‘direct interaction with… [teachers] and students’, ‘spontaneity’, ‘immediate feedback’…” (Clayton, Blumberg, & Auld, 2010, p. 362). “Prompt feedback strategy should always be used to arouse, sustain and maintain interest of students” (Oche, 2012, p. 378). When working with students, provide immediate positive responses based on what they are doing to help the children progress in their learning.